Dirty Dishes and Hollywood Stars
Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
195Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
You know that saying 'if something seems too good to be true it probably is' well that pretty much sums up our first experience of helpx. Things didn’t really start too well, we turned up in Mersing where we had been told to go on our first day of work and turned up at the office to find it closed. We phoned our boss Jasbeer who told us we were meant to have phoned as the boat had already left so we sat around Mersing for the next 4 hours waiting for another boat
Eventually we made it, were shown to our lush room and turned up for dinner to discover that our boss had actually forgotten that we were turning up (hence the lack of boat) and they already had 4 volunteers in the resort. 2 French volunteers who had refused to work in another resort hotel as they didn’t like it and were equally miserable to be here and Tom and Fran, backpacking Brits who had lots of experience in hospitality. Between us all we worked out a shift pattern so we all had the odd afternoon or evening off to save us all standing around the restaurant looking gormless.
What surprised us the most about this project is that we expected to be interacting with the guests to help out the staff who didn’t speak great English. No, what was expected was that we clear plates, wash glasses, dry dishes and keep the buffet stocked and if we so much as say good morning or ask the guests how they are we were told to shush or given a black look. We subsequently found out that the helpxers that were there before we all arrived had been sacked for being too friendly with the guests??!!
Thankfully during our time at the hotel it was busy and pretty much full as there was a movie being shot on one of the surrounding island and all the cast and crew were staying at the hotel
So after the French volunteers left we split our shifts with Fran and Tom and we would do either a breakfast or lunch shift each and then would share the dinner shift. Breakfast was 8-12, lunch 12-4 and dinner 7-11 so we were all doing at least 8 hours a day
One email and everything changed.
I emailed our friend Stef who we had met on Pom Pom, she had left half way through our stay and moved to another island to start a different project diving, planting coral and doing shark surveys whilst staying in a luxury resort. I thought I would see if we could swing by and see her as she was just up the coast and amazingly it transpired that the volunteers that were with her had decided to leave so she was going to have to go as she couldn’t run the project on her own. Amazingly her visa was due to expire at the same time as us and after a couple of phone call and emails it was agreed. We were off to Lang Tengah to take part in another TRACC project for the final month of our visa, result. Now we just need to get out of this job.
Something makes me think that Jasbeer has a few volunteers who don’t stick it out as he was not the slightest bit surprised when we told him that we had decided to move on.
It was fun whilst it lasted, but another 3 weeks of standing around and drying glasses was definitely not going to do my sanity any good
Fingers crossed our next helpx is more successful, bring on the SCUBA tanks we are off to count some sharks.
As with all our projects lately there is always some issues that follow us right up until the end, after arriving on the island on the fast and lush speed boat we left on the cargo boat, we didn’t take this too personally as Fran and Tom were sent packing on it with us. Our bus to KL was equally as eventful, the timetable claims it takes 4 hours but the reality was 7 hours of being bounced out of our seats. The bus was actually pretty nice with tv’s in the back of every seat, sadly they stayed off for the duration. Farewell Fran and Tom, thanks for sharing shifts with us, enjoy the rest of your travels!